Baking temperatures forecast to last ... and last

The pontoon in Roys Bay, Lake Wanaka, was put to good use yesterday. Photo by Lucy Ibbotson.
The pontoon in Roys Bay, Lake Wanaka, was put to good use yesterday. Photo by Lucy Ibbotson.

Otago is part way through a golden run of weather, with temperatures in the high 20s and low 30s expected to last for the next 10 days at least.

Little suns feature brightly in the MetService forecast for Otago over the next 10 days. Wanaka stands out, looking at a week in a row with temperatures over 30degC.

Queenstown is also going to be hot and can expect temperatures above 28degC each day over the same period.

The dazzling forecast also looks good for Dunedin, which is predicted to sit in the mid-20s, reaching 27degC on Wednesday before dropping back to 18degC by next Sunday.

Alexandra is expected to have temperatures in the 30s until Thursday, dropping to the mid-20s after that, until early next week.

Clutha is predicted to have temperatures in the mid-20s through the period.

North Otago will be slightly cooler with temperatures expected to reach the mid-teens.

The golden run was thanks to a ''very, very'' slow-moving high sitting over most of the country, MetService forecaster Mads Naeraa said.''

It's sitting right across the country giving hot and sunny weather to almost everyone.''

Temperatures soared across the region at the weekend. Unofficial recordings in Dunedin and Mosgiel ran as high as 30degC both Saturday and yesterday and Wanaka officially reached 30degC yesterday.

In Central Otago, the mercury hit 33degC in Alexandra on Saturday before cooling to 28degC yesterday.

The lakefronts at Wanaka and Dunstan were packed with sunbathers and boaters, and the car parks of Wanaka and Cromwell were full of boat trailers.''

It's just awesome now,'' said Anna Lind, of Dunedin, as she sunbathed on the shore of Lake Dunstan at Dairy Creek, near Clyde.

A regular holiday-maker in the area, she said up until now, ''we've had too much rain ... but now it's really settled and lovely''.

Chef Anna Durai moved to Queenstown from Auckland last month and said it was ''hotter than Auckland''.

He jokingly said he hoped that winter would be ''coming soon''.

''I never expected it to be this hot.''

But with the sunny forecast comes risk.

The region is drying out quickly after a wet summer and good vegetation growth and district councils are closely monitoring the fire risk.

A ''reasonable large'' fire near the railway lines 2km south of Kingston yesterday, which required the attendance of three fire appliances and a helicopter, due to its reasonably inaccessible location, was a sign of conditions which are set to get drier over the coming week, Queenstown Lakes District Council principal rural fire officer Gordon Bailey said.

''We understand it may have been started by the Kingston Flyer, although we can't confirm that at this stage,'' Mr Bailey said. It was the second fire yesterday, following a smaller 1ha fire beside the line, which was extinguished without helicopter assistance, just before noon.

He said a restricted fire season was in force but he would meet the Department of Conservation's rural fire team this week, to discuss introducing a prohibited fire season.

People should be aware that vegetation was drying up, and be careful when undertaking activities that could create sparks, such as mowing grass.

The Wanaka Fire Service was also called to a bonfire on the beach at Glendhu Bay.

''It was very irresponsible. You need a permit to have any sort of fire and we were very grateful that members of the public called it in. We're always grateful when the public tell us about suspicious fires.''

Central Otago District Council principal rural fire officer Owen Burgess said the district had been in an unofficial prohibited fire season for the past few days. It was technically a restricted fire season but no permits had been issued because ''it's too hot and dry''.

He would be reassessing the fire status this morning.


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